Steef Crombach, Bij wijze van ham (In a manner of ham); Vonkel, The Hague

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In Vonkel gallery Steef Crombach has her first solo show Bij wijze van ham (In a manner of ham).

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In her work she engages both with the commonplace and the local and confronting the intimate with more monumental proportions as she is also doing in real life commuting between the Netherlands and Texas.

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For this show her starting point is the traditional Dutch salad koude schotel (cold dish) basically containing cooked and chilled potatoes with mayonnaise and pickles mixed and garnished with different leftovers of cooked and/or raw food (like ham).

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She shows koude schotel in small, colourful and almost abstract pictures as a common memory and in a more monumental way in batiks.

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As the batiks have the same design on both sides they are strangely transparent and the soft colours are exceptionally bright.

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They are shown against a backdrop of the colours of her working place in Texas.

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Basically the works may look decorative at first sight but have more stories in and around them.

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In spite of (and because of)  the gallery being rather small with a high ceiling, the arrangement  of the intimate and the monumental works very well.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of pictures courtesy to Steef Crombach and Vonkel, The Hague

 

Bertus Pieters

Rinus Van de Velde, About Robert Rino _; Nest, The Hague

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If asked ‘what role do you play as an artist?’ probably many artists will answer ‘my own role!’

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While not denying that, artists presenting their work usually play a role which is well chosen and crafted, constructing a myth with every show.

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In About Robert Rino _ at Nest Rinus Van de Velde (1983) has chosen the fictitious character of the abstract expressionist painter Robert Rino (more than vaguely sounding like Robert De Niro) to create a myth.

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At the same time he deconstructs the myth of the macho artist.

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He tells the story with huge drawings and he shows Rino’s art work, paintings, drawings and ceramics.

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So what is the difference between Van de Velde and Van de Velde as Robert Rino?

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At the moment Van de Velde’s work is also presented at the Gemeentemuseum, but the presentation at Nest is better, simply because the drawings in the museum that cover the walls are protected by reflecting glass which makes it difficult to look at them.

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In Nest that problem isn’t really that big and Nest’s space works obviously better for a narrative like Van de Velde’s.

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Meanwhile Van de Velde’s drawings are the real attraction of the show and the best reason for a visit.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Rinus Van de Velde and Nest.

 

Bertus Pieters

Victor Yudaev, Victor en me; 1646, The Hague

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Last week i visited Victor Yudaev’s show Victor en me at 1646 to write a review for Villa La Repubblica. Click here to read the review (in Dutch).

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It’s a good exhibition in which Yudaev shows several works presented in a greater narrative.

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I’ve written quite extensively about it on VLR so i leave you with these pictures.

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Of course it is better to visit the show, which i warmly recommend.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Victor Yudaev and 1646, The Hague.

 

Bertus Pieters

Jean Katambayi Mukendi, Attempts to Read the World (Differently); Stroom, The Hague

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In a very knowledgeable and interesting essay by Simon Delobel accompanying the present show with works by Jean Katambayi Mukendi (1974) at Stroom, the suggestion is made to call the artist’s work ‘outsider art.’

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However, that would be the easiest way to marginalise it, in spite of the status outsider art has claimed since the invention of that label in 1972.

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It should be recognised (and clearly Delobel and Stroom are doing so) that there are places in this world where daily life has to be lived, and sometimes even survived, in its extremes and where art has to be reinvented from scratch under these circumstances.

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Such a process is more ‘inside’ than ‘outside’.

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That opens possibilities to reconsider art and its functions and purposes.

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Katambayi Mukendi, born, raised, living and working in Lubumbashi – second biggest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and capital of the copper mining province of Upper Katanga – , started out as an electrician and a mathematician.

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His works as presented at Stroom (as part of his residency in The Hague), can be seen as thinking processes about society and the world of an artist-teacher-student.

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He is the third artist in the series Attempts to Read the World (Differently). The others are Max de Waard (1992) and Monira Al Qadiri (1983) whose shows i missed unfortunately, but a work of each is still on show.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of the pictures courtesy to the artists and Stroom Den Haag.

 

Bertus Pieters

Raúl Ortega Ayala, The Zone; Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague

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Loss causes wounds, both psychologically and physically.

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A wound can be seen as a trace of suffering.

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Traces, as far as they are visible, are subjected to aesthetics, whether you like it or not, and as such they are subjects for the visual arts.

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Absence is a manifestation of loss, and so becomes part of the traces of loss.

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These closely related aspects come together in The Zone, a project by Raúl Ortega Ayala (1973), presented by Dürst Britt & Mayhew.

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The Zone is a video, lasting more than half an hour, made in the restricted area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine.

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However, the film is not just another expression of morbid aesthetics or another tear-jerking documentary about human suffering.

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In fact it is very much alive.

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History becomes very much part of the present and becomes timeless as well as time-worn when you see the different seasons in the area and the people who tell their memories and walk around in the places where they once lived, worked and enjoyed themselves.

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The Zone is supplemented with photographs which act like a decor and, as they are very well presented, act as a kind of vestibule to the video.

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In the front part of the gallery Ortega shows three renditions of x-rayed pictures.

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Under the paintings by Hodges, Van Gogh and the Le Nains are completely different pictures, which are lost for humanity but are being made visible again, with traces of the present paintings over them.

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Again they are traces of absence, of loss. It is great how Dürst Britt & Mayhew changed their gallery again to present this work, so, go there and take your time to see it all!

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Raúl Ortega Ayala and Dürst Britt & Mayhew.

 

Bertus Pieters

Arie van Geest, The Broken Promised Land; Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

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Arie van Geest (1948) has been very prolific last few years and the rich harvest is on show in Livingstone Gallery at the moment.

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What seem to be more or less innocent fairy tale scenes at first sight, turn out to be far more realistic ones.

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Van Geest uses as his key players small objects he collected himself, that refer to our archetypal myths that frame our morals or even sometimes our reasons to live for.

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The objects may be represented in their individual full glory or together with others in a meeting or even in a parade.

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Together with plants and weeds, which act more or less as the jungle of life, they may refer to titles and ideas of “high” and “low” culture that underscore both their archetypal qualities and their individual lyricism.

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Take your time looking at these paintings, they are fine, many and each contains its own story and dispositions.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Arie van Geest and Livingstone Gallery.

 

Bertus Pieters